576
576

ART CREATES CURES FOUNDATION

Georg Baselitz
SCHWARZE NASE
Estimate
2,000,0003,000,000
LOT SOLD. 3,480,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
576

ART CREATES CURES FOUNDATION

Georg Baselitz
SCHWARZE NASE
Estimate
2,000,0003,000,000
LOT SOLD. 3,480,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Sale

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Hong Kong

Georg Baselitz
B. 1938
SCHWARZE NASE
signed, titled, dedicated and dated 14.VIII.90 18.VIII.90 24.II.91 on the reverse
Executed in 1990-91
oil on canvas
250 by 250 cm; 98½ by 98½ in. 
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Provenance

Lucio Amelio, Naples
Collection of L.C. Heppener, Holland
Christie's, London, 4 December 1996, lot 53
Private Collection 
Phillips, London, 15 October 2014, lot 23
Acquired by the present owner from the above sale

Exhibited

Naples, Lucio Amelio, La Commedia dell'Arte: Georg Baselitz, February 1992
Humblebaek, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Baselitz Værker fra 1990-93, May - August 1993, p. 22
New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, George Baselitz, 26 May - 17 September 1995, p. 202, no. 160 (then travelled to Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, October 1995 - January 1996; Washington D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institute, February - May 1996; Berlin, Staatliche Museum zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie, May - July 1996)

Catalogue Note

THIS WORK HAS BEEN GENEROUSLY DONATED BY MR BUDI TEK

Bearing an extensive exhibition history, Schwarze Nase (“Black Nose”) is a potently powerful example of Georg Baselitz’s monumental painterly expression and a rare piece situated at a critical transitional point the artist’s career. Starting from the early 1990s, Baselitz took his iconic “upside-down” depiction of motifs one step further to question the verticality of the canvas itself, adjusting his methodology to paint large-format, unstretched canvases on the floor. In this method, he no longer faces his canvases but works above them whilst kneeling and crouching. Carla Schulz-Hoffmann observes that, accordingly, Baselitz “deliberately prevented himself from being able to step back and observe the genesis of a painting from a distance”, instead working intuitively on small sections and allowing the whole painting to come together without his conscious control. This enabled the artist to achieve an even higher degree of abstraction.

Executed from 1990 to 1991, the painting features a human profile that is only just barely distinguishable behind a masterfully executed grid of bold and roughly hewn lines – a recurring motif in Baselitz’s works from that decade. When situating the present work in the context of his oeuvre, absent is the painterly craftsmanship of his earlier works in favor of dynamic paint handling, fluid brushstrokes and a clear immediacy in its application. Similarly gone is the traditional figure-and-ground relationship in favor of overall flatness and a focus on the autonomy of the canvas. Executed via aggressive brushstrokes that forcefully activate the entire surface of the painting, the grid of black simultaneously engulfs the figure whilst directing the observer’s vision towards the center core of the image, evincing undeniable energy and heightened dramatic vision.

A product of both East and West Germany, Baselitz’s art confronts Germany’s Post-War legacy and seeks to reconnect a German present to an unassailable heritage. Born in 1938 in the austerity of Communist East Germany, Baselitz moved to West Berlin in 1957 and became resident there in 1958, three years before the construction of the Wall. Eschewing the aesthetic dogma of Socialist Realism with his flight from East Germany, Baselitz remained unsatisfied by the pretensions of freedom purported by fashionable movements such as Abstract Expressionism, Tachisme and Nouveau Réalisme. While he was at art school in 1958, a touring exhibition of American contemporary art came to West Berlin. It was the first time that Baselitz and his German peers had seen works by artists such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Phillip Guston, and Clyfford Still. While scores of young Germans absorbed abstraction and action painting into their styles, Baselitz felt a strong need to take his artistry in a different direction; to create works that acknowledged the trauma of Germany’s recent past: “I wanted to do something that totally contradicted internationalism: I wanted to examine what it was to be a German now” (Georg Baselitz cited in: Nicolas Wroe, ‘Georg Baselitz: "Am I supposed to be friendly?’’', The Guardian, 14 February 2014, online).

Baselitz’s work in the early 1960s evoked German Expressionism and helped to reestablish the viability of figural painting through the use of disfiguration that was heavily influenced by Philip Guston and Francis Bacon. During the mid-1960s Baselitz began to mine Germany’s history for archetypes that he used in his Hero series. These iconic (anti)heroes were one of the links to the past that could serve as tools for Baselitz to address Germany’s recent history. His signature reversal of central figures, used regularly since 1969, served to unify the image and the canvas’ surface. In the 1970s he inspired a revival of Neo-Expressionist painting in Germany and established an international reputation due to his subsequent influence on young painters in both Europe and the United States. In 1980 Baselitz was chosen to represent Germany at the Venice Biennale, and since then his work has been featured in solo exhibitions and retrospectives at prestigious institutional exhibitions worldwide, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (1995) and the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2007). Executed in the decade in which he secured his international standing as one of the most influential German painters of the post-war era, the present lot continues Baselitz’s searing analysis of human existence through his relentless development of the possibilities of figuration and abstraction.

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